Skip to main content

Planting for Success

Our Narrative Lectionary reading for this upcoming Sunday is from Mark 4:1-9.  Jesus tells a parable about a sower who plants seeds in a variety of places.  This is an amazing parable, and it can be looked at from many different angles.  Today I want to look at it from the perspective of how I personally receive truth/wisdom.

The first seed is planted on a path, scattered on the surface it became food for the birds.  I have found that I pay less attention to common wisdom.  As true as it may be, I neglect to apply the simple truths in my life.  Was Jesus encouraging teachers to hide their truths in parables like he did?  In the very next story he goes on to explain why he always taught in parables, was this foreshadowing?  Sometimes we need to chew on something, to wrestle with it to accept it.

The second seed is planted on the rocky soil.  It sprang up but died quickly because it could not find root among the rocks.  The sun came out and scorched the plants, the withered and died.  Sometimes I am really excited by something new.  I get obsessed with it and put all of my energy into it.  These whims usually die off though.  When tried by time or difficulty I give up.  Are you like that too?  I wonder if Jesus is warning is encouraging us that truth really does need time to settle in.  Don't make a leader out of a new convert.  Let the test of time build good things in them.  Look for fruit more than excitement. 

The third seed fell among the thorns and it was choked out.  Have you ever noticed how hard it is to receive feedback when you are already defensive?  If I am "prickly" I can't really hear you.  I have to get my head in the right place.  I can't even begin to count the number of times I have rolled my eyes at perfectly good wisdom because I was not in the right head space to hear it. 

The final seed fell on good seed and it had a massive yield.  When I am really able to hear and apply wisdom, it goes a long way.  Often opening new doors and opportunities.

From this angle, this parable reminds me that Jesus tells us not to throw our pearls at the swine.  We need to make sure the soil is just right if we want to impact the world.  We need to dress up the truth in narrative so that it's not thrown out as common.  We need to give truth time to settle in and bear real fruit.  And we need to make sure that people are in the right head space to hear what we have to say.

Can you imagine if the teachers and mentors in your life had followed this wisdom?  How would it have impacted you?  How can you impact the next generation by holding your tongue until it is the right time and place to share your truth?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Death Will Lose it's Sting

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 1 Corinthians 15:51-57. In these verses, Paul reveals a mystery, that in the end some will be transformed, given a new body, instead of facing death.  In other words death is not one of life's two certain terms.  It seems taxes may be the only guarantee.   "...in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except  death and taxes ." - Benjamin Franklin. Ok, all jokes aside, these verses are difficult to read.  Paul looks forward to a time when death will have no victory, it will have lost its sting.  But today, we are in the middle of a pandemic, surrounded by death.  Many are scared for their lives, or their loved ones, and too many have already been lost.  Death does not seem to have lost its sting at all, it feels as if it is closing in. When I worked in wilderness therapy I remember holding a child who was desperately trying to kill himself.  We cried together as he struggled to end it, and I struggled

Fool for Christ

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 2 Corinthians 5.  Verse 13 stood out to me. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. - 2 Corinthians 5:13a (NLT) John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard churches did a famous sermon called "I am a fool for Christ, whose fool are you?".  Reading this week's text reminded me of this wonderful sermon.  Wimber's sermon reminds us that, as christians, we are called to something truly radical.  The christian walk is strange and counter cultural.  Jesus once explained this to his disciples in John 15 "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. You don't belong to this world, I have chosen you out of it.  That is why the world hates you."   Peter, in a letter to the church, later referred to all of us as strangers just passing through this world.   Do you feel like a stranger?  Do you feel like the world hates you?  Are you a fool for Christ? Here is the thing, you are going t

Looking Back?

"Remember Lot’s wife!  "   -  Luke 17:32 This is one of the shortest verses in the Bible.  Jesus was talking about the terrible circumstances that will be present when he comes back.  He was warning people that they would not see it coming.  People will be going about their business and then suddenly, without warning, chaos will take over.  People will need to flee, and he warns them not to go back for their possessions, for anything.  This is where he says "Remember Lot's wife!".  In desperation he pleads with them to remember the fate of this woman.  To his listeners it would bring to mind the story of Lot and his family fleeing the destruction of Sodom.  They too were warned not to go back for anything, not to even look back, but Lot's wife did look back.  And when she did, she turned into a pillar of salt.   Metaphorically speaking this is often what happens when we look back.  We get frozen in place and we cease moving forward.  I have a childhood frie